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Old 09-04-2011, 04:46 PM
 
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I'm curious about what has worked in Denver's light rail systems. Are there particular station developments that are better than others? "Better," in my mind (and certainly this is subjective), involves a light rail station integrated into the surrounding neighborhoods, with a good mix of mixed use retail/residential and TOD. I haven't spent a ton of time on the light rail, but I've noticed some of the stations are really just park n rides, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but doesn't lead to much of development around the light rail.

So, what I'm curious about is what stations have done it right? Lousiana/Pearl seems like a good mix to me, but I'd be curious on opinions about others.

More importantly, I'd also be curious about what others think about the new light rail stations that are being constructed on the new lines. Are there stations that are trying to incorporate a TOD oriented concept, or is it generally park n rides? I know Stapleton is looking to have their station surrounded by retail and residential TOD mixed in with a park n ride, but I am unsure if they will have the density and population immediately surrounding the station to lead to significant development, at least not right away. Developments done the right way can be a boon to a neighborhood, so for those in the market, it would be good to get a sense of a station's "vision" before things are finished and values go through the roof.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-04-2011, 07:06 PM
 
Location: On the Rails in Northern NJ
12,381 posts, read 23,332,422 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KaaBoom View Post
Streamlined trains are not limited to hight speed rail. RTD rejected several proposals for non-boxy trains for the Airport line. Here in California most of the commuter rail service uses streamlined trains, and they are just slow crappy DMUs. No where near as fast as RTD's plans for the Airport line.



Yes , but those are push-pulls , so one way there streamlined trains and the other is boxy. There Not DMUs either , DMUs are faster , there just diesel EMU's.
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Old 09-05-2011, 12:06 AM
 
5,090 posts, read 13,521,222 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HoyaSoxa View Post
I'm curious about what has worked in Denver's light rail systems. Are there particular station developments that are better than others? "Better," in my mind (and certainly this is subjective), involves a light rail station integrated into the surrounding neighborhoods, with a good mix of mixed use retail/residential and TOD. I haven't spent a ton of time on the light rail, but I've noticed some of the stations are really just park n rides, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but doesn't lead to much of development around the light rail.

So, what I'm curious about is what stations have done it right? Lousiana/Pearl seems like a good mix to me, but I'd be curious on opinions about others.

More importantly, I'd also be curious about what others think about the new light rail stations that are being constructed on the new lines. Are there stations that are trying to incorporate a TOD oriented concept, or is it generally park n rides? I know Stapleton is looking to have their station surrounded by retail and residential TOD mixed in with a park n ride, but I am unsure if they will have the density and population immediately surrounding the station to lead to significant development, at least not right away. Developments done the right way can be a boon to a neighborhood, so for those in the market, it would be good to get a sense of a station's "vision" before things are finished and values go through the roof.

Thanks in advance!
Having gone to many meetings, it is also emphasized that RTD mission is to built the line, the station and limited parking and it is the responsibility of the municipality to develop the community around the stations. RTD is prevented from acquiring land and to engage in activities that do not serve that mission. I think some policies of the State, County and City are being implemented to more coordinated and get funds to further the develop around the stations.

Unfortunately, when a station is planned, developers acquire much of the adjacent land and built high priced condos and properties that can only attract expensive shops. Perhaps I should not use the word "unfortunate" because much good development has come near the stations and we are "fortunate" that they have the funds and the expertise to redevelop these areas. However, some of this is changing as the State and Private funds, through land conservatories, are acquiring land to built more market rate, subsidized and senior housing next to the stations, to serve a broader population and to encourage private developers with grants and funding to expand on the choice of housing. For example a market rate, senior housing apartment complex is now nearing completion near the Yale station. Much land has also been acquired near the Wadsworth and Sheridan Station on the soon to be complete West Line.

I think the best TOD developed is the City of Englewood but Cinderella City redevelopment was already on the drawing board and the station only added to this development. Also, this station is near an already established mixed economic neighborhoods that it can serve. However, the apartments adjacent to the station are certainly of a much higher rent than the whole area.

The future stations, along the West Line into Lakewood, will give us a chance to see how the full implementation of new policies will take effect. There is also big plans to implement a new TOD along the Osage Station which would include building new subsidized housing with a mix of other rentals and retail. The Alameda station will see new housing and the former Gates plan will eventually lead to more redevelopment.

Most of the stations, along all the corridors, have redevelopment concepts done by the municipalities. However, most are just "pipe dream" ideas in the early stages. Some of the stations that are now under construction and close to completion have more firmer plans for redevelopment. Certainly, the new Federal Station along the West Line is much further along on redevelopment because it relocated the largest Park n' Ride, Cold Springs, and renamed Federal Station. Adjacent to this new Station the new St. Anthony Hospital has already opened. This puts the first hospital near a Rail Station. The massive redevelopment at Anshutz includes planning for the now constructing East Line and potential development along the 225 corridor that will put a station south of the campus.

Some of the other existing stations have seen development such as shopping and housing near the Mineral Station; housing and shops near Southmoor; more development near Lincoln and extensive more housing near Dry Creek. So, even though many of these developments are not called, per say TOD (Transit Oriented Development), they can be called Transit Oriented Communities. This is the term the General Manager of RTD, Phillip Washington, has used in many of his presentations.

We also must keep in mind that Fastracks is not only about building rail; it is also about more buses, call n' rides, park n' rides, Bus rapid Transit and Transit Connections. So, the Streets of Southglenn, Belmar have a transit point for buses, near or adjacent and these can also be termed TODs, even though they are far from a rail station. The implementation of new Transit Connections do not always have to involve new construction of shining new buildings and destination retail. They can also include older neighborhoods and developments, as in the increase in Transit Connection along the Brentwood Shopping area, along South Federal.

We have also seen increase bus connections along the building of the BRT on the I-36 corridor to Boulder and the future potentials of some rail stations adjacent to the BRT, as in Church Ranch on 92nd Avenue over 36. It also must be noted that there has been a massive movement of the huge Park n' Ride in Broomfield, at 36 and Wadsworth, to put into more into the center of the Arista Development and near the future rail station on the Northwest Corridor. Arista can certainly be considered a TOD development.

The Transit Connections that I have talked about are termed officially Transit Centers and these Centers are very important is meeting transit needs for a frequent transit user like myself http://www.rtd-denver.com/TransitCenters.shtml#ng As you can see that most of these Centers do not involve any rail connections. These Centers are also located in older established neighborhoods with stores in walkable neighborhoods that already provide the elements of what you characterize as Transit Oriented Developments or as Transit Oriented Communities. Multiple means of transit meet here and many are times transfers so you can immediately connect to another bus. Do not think that Rail is the only good means of public transit as Denver has had for years an excellent bus system.

Much time will be necessary to implement many changes and much will be done beyond our lifetimes--but it will be done.

Livecontent

Last edited by livecontent; 09-05-2011 at 12:35 AM..
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Old 09-05-2011, 12:21 PM
 
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
7,142 posts, read 8,852,708 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBPisgah View Post
"The lightrail system is really efficent, especially for me this past year- but it mostly services the southwest suburbs (Littleton, Englewood), the area directly around the old rail line and I-25, all the way to downtown. It doesn't really do much for the city of Denver itself, which is probably where it's needed most."

I agree, and the I-25 location means that rail stops often aren't near much of anything. Imagine if a N-S line had been built along Broadway or Logan Blvd - what a difference would have made - increased vitality along that dense corridore, new high rise apartments and condos, infill along Broadway.

And if, on that imaginary N-S line, the fare from Wash. Park to and from downtown were set at $1.50, the lines would be packed. (And if you want to get really crazy, imagine the growth and infill if the inner zone were $1.00 - or free.)

So I see Denver's light rail, at least along the I-25 corridore, as something of an urban planning failure, a failure to support and encourage Denver's transformation to denser, more urban city, rather than just playing along with and encouraging sprawl. It seems like transportation planners saw the problem light rail could solve as being traffic, when actually, the problem is spread out suburban development.
A light rail line on Broadway (Logan is way too narrow I believe) would be much slower then the current Southwest light rail line is. A better solution, and what I'd like to see happen in the future would be.

First, that the Southwest line (and possibly the Southeast line as well) be upgraded to the same type of faster commuter rail which is under construction to the Airport, and to Arvada.

Second I'd like to see "modern" streetcar lines be build along the entire lengths of both Broadway and Colfax Ave. A Broadway streetcar line in conjunction with the Southeast and Southwest rail lines would offer riders for more and faster options.

For example Littleton and Englewood residents living along Broadway would be able to ride the streetcar from stops along South Broadway to Broadway & I-25 and transfer to much faster trains to continue their trip to Downtown fairly quickly. Also riders on the Southeast and Southwest lines would be able to transfer to the Broadway streetcar at Broadway & I-25 to continue their trips North to Civic Center much quicker.

This would be much like Toronto, where people ride streetcars along major streets to the subways stations to transfer to the subway.
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Old 09-05-2011, 12:38 PM
 
Location: Golden, CO
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I always tend to forget about the line that goes to Five Points because I never use it -- but, that's an example of a light rail line that goes through a neighborhood and has stations that are less like park-n-rides and more like regular neighborhood platforms. I think TOD is occurring throughout the region and I think RTD and some of the local governments generally encourage it, but it just hasn't caught on at a lot of the stations. There are other factors, too, like quality of schools, and whatnot, that might keep interested people from buying in some of those areas.

EDITED TO SAY: The one area that has sort of confused me is the Evans Station on the SW Line. I know it looks a bit run-down, but to me, that area has a lot of potential. It's residential and walkable to BOTH the businesses/shops on S Broadway as well as the rail platform just south of Evans. It doesn't seem like a lot is happening around that station.

Last edited by cowboyxjon; 09-05-2011 at 12:46 PM..
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Old 09-05-2011, 01:51 PM
 
555 posts, read 1,035,997 times
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this post does a good job of explaining how light rail has bypassed our existing neighborhood in favor of stimulating TOD which may or may not occur in our lifetime- why doesn't light rail serve Baker residents better? | Baker Now - South Denver
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Old 09-05-2011, 07:54 PM
 
5,090 posts, read 13,521,222 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowboyxjon View Post
I always tend to forget about the line that goes to Five Points because I never use it -- but, that's an example of a light rail line that goes through a neighborhood and has stations that are less like park-n-rides and more like regular neighborhood platforms. I think TOD is occurring throughout the region and I think RTD and some of the local governments generally encourage it, but it just hasn't caught on at a lot of the stations. There are other factors, too, like quality of schools, and whatnot, that might keep interested people from buying in some of those areas.

EDITED TO SAY: The one area that has sort of confused me is the Evans Station on the SW Line. I know it looks a bit run-down, but to me, that area has a lot of potential. It's residential and walkable to BOTH the businesses/shops on S Broadway as well as the rail platform just south of Evans. It doesn't seem like a lot is happening around that station.
You may find this of interest that there will be housing constructed across from the Evans Station

Affordable Housing TOD Planned for Denver | Multi-Housing News Online

My last post was running long and I could not indicate all the information I wanted about TODs, This is an example of what I talking about, in my previous post, with preserving land around stations for low and moderate income housing vs. all expensive development.

I want to add this link to the Urban Land Conservatory which will give you more of an idea http://www.urbanlandc.org/

There is much more happening. Again another example is that a large apartment complex is now under construction adjacent to the future rail station at Kipling on the Gold Line. It is interesting because the Gold Line will not open until 2016.

We also have to remember that the biggest TOD is the 16th Street Mall which is a project of RTD. The building of that mall with the Civic Station and Market Station on each end was a big endeavor and had nothing to do with rail. Now it is 30 yrs. old and we are seeing the expansion of this Mall to the huge redevelopment of Union Station.

Livecontent

Last edited by livecontent; 09-05-2011 at 08:07 PM..
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Old 09-05-2011, 10:21 PM
 
Location: Golden, CO
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Thanks for the information, livecontent! I somehow missed the news about the Evans Station Lofts project!
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Old 09-06-2011, 08:41 AM
 
19 posts, read 35,627 times
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Absolutely, thanks Livecontent. some helpful food for thought. I've never been to the Englewood station, but I'll have to check it out. I agree with you on the importance of making transit development available to everyone, I know the Stapleton site has set aside property within a half mile or so of the light rail for low income housing, as well as some rental properties. Remains to be seen how/if that's implemented.
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Old 09-06-2011, 11:25 AM
 
5,090 posts, read 13,521,222 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HoyaSoxa View Post
Absolutely, thanks Livecontent. some helpful food for thought. I've never been to the Englewood station, but I'll have to check it out. I agree with you on the importance of making transit development available to everyone, I know the Stapleton site has set aside property within a half mile or so of the light rail for low income housing, as well as some rental properties. Remains to be seen how/if that's implemented.
Affordable Housing has been a strict requirement for the development of Stapleton. Housing that meets this criteria have already been in place for years and more will be built, so it has been and will be implemented.

This link will show you the type of affordable housing that is now available. This is made possible by State and Federal monies with participation of HUD and other entities:

Stapleton's Affordable Housing Program | Stapleton Denver

Livecontent
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